Portrait of Domitian

Imperial Period
about A.D. 70–75

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 346; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 115 (additional published references).


26.2 x 14 cm (10 5/16 x 5 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

marble from Mt. Pentelikon (near Athens)

Not On View


The Ancient World



The neck has been worked for insertion, probably in a draped and/or cuirassed bust. A split in the neck has been restored. The condition is excellent, the surfaces having a crusty yellowish patina.

If this is a likeness of Domitian rather than a private person portrayed in his image, it must have been fashioned for a small private chapel of the Flavian cult. The quality of carving is hardly different from the ordinary run of early to middle imperial funerary portraits.

Scientific Analysis:

University of South Florida Lab No. 8467: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.7 / delta18O -8.7,

Attribution - Mt. Pentelikon (near Athens). Justification - C and O isotopes.


By date unknown: said to be in the Ludovisi Collection; by 1888: with R. Lanciani (said to come from the Ludovisi villa); purchased by MFA from R. Lanciani, December 8, 1888, for $173.91 (this is the total price for MFA 89.4-89.8)

Credit Line

Benjamin Pierce Cheney Donation